emrys_nc (emrys_nc) wrote in powerofmyth,

The Myth of Politics

A couple of years ago, at a Mythology conference I was invited to speak at, I got to hear Stephen Wilkerson of the Pacifica Graduate Institute deliver a wonderful paper called "The Myth of Politics; the 2004 Partisan Divide." Prof. Wilkerson's ideas seem to pretty topical once again... particularly if you watched the Obama-McCain debate... and contrasted the two men in terms of temperament, personality types... and racial/ethnic backgrounds.

"The Myth of Politics" was a rather fun paper, full of puns, which played off the distinction between red and blue states. Does blue state = blue blood? Does red state = red neck? In the ancient Indian Kunadalini Yoga, there are 7 chakras (power centers) assigned to the body, and each chakra is assigned a color. The lower 3 are purely animal; the top 4 are human/spiritual. Chakra 1, the lowest chakra, Campbell described as the Dragon chakra – dragons hoard and guard things. The color of charka 1 is red. Chakra 5, located at the throat, is that of speech/language… communication. Its color is blue.

But the real interesting part of the paper came w/ a comparison of the Paleolithic mythology Campbell labeled “the way of the animal powers” w/ the Neolithic mythos called “the way of the seeded earth.” The Neolithic mythos comes w/ the emergence of planting culture. When you farm land, you have to protect that plot of land. You build fences… then walls, and soon you have city-states w/ standing armies and such. (Dragons guard things.) Contrasting w/ this is the nomadic hunter-gatherer. Campbell called Chief Seattle “the last spokesman of the Paleolithic moral order.” In 1852 we wrote, “The President in Washington sends word that he wants to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? The land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air or the sparkle of the water how can we sell them to you? … The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth… Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. … One thing we know: Our god is your god also.”

It is no coincidence that, almost w/o exception, agrarian states are all red (where dragons guard). There is more red by area than blue. But almost w/o exception large cities, w/ their communal spaces, go blue. The denser the population, the more likely to go blue. In these communal spaces a kind of neo-Paleolithic moral order is growing w/ trends towards openness, sharing, multiculturalism, socialism and community.
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